What a hilarious and inspiring business book. It's more than a business book, actually, as Biz Stone, the author (who is the creator of Twitter), passes along advice that goes beyond business and touches any type of creative work.
Business books often leave me yawning and rarely enthrall me, but this one is a well-crafted charmer--and had me laughing out loud.
It’s a serious book about making money and experiencing success. At the same time, it’s a very funny book about putting values before profit, about being compassionate, about listening well to others, about learning from your clients, and about being mindful.
In short, I loved it. And I’m recommending it.
In the first chapter, he discusses how he went from a failed start-up venture directly to unemployment and living in his mother's basement. To deal with such humiliating circumstances, he amused himself by creating a blog based on a fictional alter-ego ("Biz Stone, Genius" which then morphed into "Genius Labs").
Acting out of his fearless, totally confident Genius persona on his blog, and making up outrageously whimsical statements about what he was doing, he unconsciously came up with ideas that eventually led to the concept behind Twitter...but that was a few years down the road. First, the blog attracted readers, one of whom eventually paved the way for Biz to end up working for Google (notorious for their grueling selection process). The story behind how he landed that job is hilarious, not for the faint of heart, and an approach that would not work in all workplace cultures. But it was exactly the kind of behavior that lent itself to the culture of Google at that time.
By the end of the book, he is no longer calling himself a genius. Neither is he denigrating himself in any way. How he gets from Point A, being the Genius, to Point B, an becoming an advocate for compassion in business, is a completely fascinating story with great career lessons for everyone who reads it. (A quote from one of the last chapters: “Global empathy is the triumph of humanity,”) And it’s such a readable book—smart, warm, funny, and packed with provocative stories, questions, and information. Some highlights: